NFC West: Chris Horton

Jackson's 58-yard run in 10 quick steps

September, 22, 2009
9/22/09
5:32
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


Ten things I noticed watching the Rams' Steven Jackson break a 58-yard run against the Redskins in Week 2:
  • The Rams were operating from what offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur calls their "zebra" personnel package with three wide receivers, one tight end and Jackson alone in the backfield. This left the Redskins with only two linebackers on the field.
  • The Rams ran away from Albert Haynesworth, who was lined up over left guard Jacob Bell. Left tackle Alex Barron obstructed Haynesworth just long enough for Jackson to escape between right guard Richie Incognito and right tackle Jason Smith.
  • Incognito and center Jason Brown initially double-teamed defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin. Incognito came off the block quickly and buckled linebacker London Fletcher with what appeared to be a left hand to the facemask. Fletcher lost leverage and Incognito buried him. Fletcher's left earhole was close to touching the grass.
  • Smith grabbed left defensive end Phillip Daniels by the jersey and held him. Daniels wasn't going to make the tackle.
  • Jackson ran strong and broke free from safety Chris Horton about 2 yards past the line of scrimmage. Horton overran the play but still appeared to grab Jackson by the foot.
  • Safety LaRon Landry came charging toward the line of scrimmage in run support, but he might have misjudged Jackson's speed and maneuverability. Both were between the hashmarks and within 5 yards of one another when Jackson cut to his right. I'm not sure if Landry even touched him.
  • Receiver Keenan Burton, lined up in the left slot, could have done a better job blocking safety Reed Doughty.
  • Receiver Donnie Avery hustled downfield to help with blocking, but he wasted the effort by shoving cornerback DeAngelo Hall in the back, drawing a penalty.
  • Coach Steve Spagnuolo grabbed Avery by the left forearm and appeared to be encouraging the receiver, not berating him. Avery seemed more interested in getting back on the field than staying around to listen.
  • As noted after Week 1, I'm still waiting to see whether the Rams are better off running the ball with fullback Mike Karney on the field. This was a second-and-10 play. I'm hoping to chart the Rams' personnel use before time runs short.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

A final-week voting surge for Anquan Boldin gave the Cardinals the two top finishers in NFC fan voting for the Pro Bowl at receiver.

Boldin didn't just creep up on the Redskins' Santana Moss during the final week of voting. He blew past him with 84,719 additional votes -- 147,459 to 62,740 -- to trail only teammate Larry Fitzgerald in final fan voting.

The surge gave Boldin 532,108 votes. Moss has 487,924. Fitzgerald led NFC receivers with 655,433 votes, easily the most votes for any receiver from either conference.

The league also considers coach and player voting in determining which players represent each conference in the annual all-star game.

Fan voting concluded this week. I'll summarize NFC West results after making available for download a spreadsheet showing the top five vote-getters from each conference at each position, plus the top 10 overall vote getters.

The Cardinals' Kurt Warner finished fifth in overall voting. Fitzgerald was seventh. A quick look at positions where NFC West players finished among the top five:

Thanks to the Redskins' strong showing in fan voting, the NFC East fielded 58 players among the top five at various positions.

The AFC North and AFC South were next at 28 apiece, followed by the AFC East (26), NFC North (20), AFC West (13) NFC South (11) and, finally, the mighty NFC West (6).

Fitzgerald climbs in Pro Bowl voting

December, 2, 2008
12/02/08
6:13
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald has passed teammate Kurt Warner for fifth in fan balloting among Pro Bowl candidates. Fan voting comprises one-third of the process. Voting continues for another week. Coaches and players vote thereafter.

Fitzgerald has moved from seventh to sixth to fifth over the last three weeks. Warner remains sixth in voting behind Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Clinton Portis, Eli Manning and Fitzgerald.

A quick look at NFC West players ranked among the NFC's top five vote-getters at their positions:

Quarterback: Warner remains third behind Brees and Manning.

Receiver: Fitzgerald remains first and teammate Anquan Boldin remains third.

Inside linebacker: The 49ers' Patrick Willis remains fourth behind London Fletcher, Brian Urlacher and Antonio Pierce.

Strong safety: The Cardinals' Adrian Wilson remains second behind Chris Horton.

Special-teamers: The Cardinals' Sean Morey remains fifth.

Voting continues here through Dec. 9. Players and coaches vote shortly thereafter. Each contingent comprises one third of the voting.

No Seahawks or Rams players rank among the top five at their positions. Which players not listed deserve strongest consideration? I would put Rams specialists Donnie Jones and Josh Brown on the list. Jones leads the NFL in gross and net punting. Brown has proven reliable from long range. Seahawks tackle Walter Jones remains among the best left tackles. Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby has made big plays. Niners return specialist Allen Rossum was enjoying a strong season until suffering an injury. Who am I missing?

Warner cracks top 10 in Pro Bowl voting

November, 25, 2008
11/25/08
3:44
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

MVP candidate Kurt Warner is moving up in Pro Bowl voting among fans, taking the eighth spot among all NFL players in the latest balloting.

Warner was not ranked among the top 10 as recently as last week. Teammate Larry Fitzgerald moved up from seventh to sixth over the same period.

No Seahawks or Rams players rank among the leaders. The Bengals and Lions are the only other teams without a single player ranked among the top five at his position. The 49ers have one player ranked among the top five at his position (a certain linebacker). The Cardinals have five.

A quick look at NFC West players ranked among the top five vote-getters:

Quarterback: Warner is third behind Drew Brees and Eli Manning.

Receiver: Fitzgerald is first and teammate Anquan Boldin is third.

Inside linebacker: The 49ers' Patrick Willis is fourth behind London Fletcher, Brian Urlacher and Antonio Pierce.

Strong safety: The Cardinals' Adrian Wilson is second behind Chris Horton.

Special-teamers: The Cardinals' Sean Morey ranks fifth.

Voting continues here through Dec. 9. Players and coaches vote shortly thereafter. Each contingent comprises one third of the voting.

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